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The ASUS XG Station is connected via a dongle to the notebook ExpressCard interface
ASUS introduces the world's first external graphics card for notebook users

ASUS today introduced a dedicated external graphics card for laptops -- the XG Station. The XG Station is an external graphics card that allows laptop users to enjoy high end graphics performance while plugged in. As the XG Station is an external graphics it can be unplugged when portability is needed.

The XG Station connects to any notebook’s ExpressCard slot and provides a PCI Express x16 slot for graphics cards. Since ASUS has opted to equip the XG Station with a standard PCI Express x16 slot, the station can be equipped with any PCI Express based graphics card: AMD, NVIDIA or even Matrox. ASUS launched the default XG Station with an NVIDIA 7900GS powered graphics card.

The XG Station is powered externally.  A separate power brick plugs directly into the adaptor.

An integrated LCD display and control also grace the XG Station. The display is customizable and can display information such as frame rate, fan speed, GPU temperature and more while the control knob can change various settings of the XG Station such as the core and memory clocks.

Expect ASUS to release the XG Station in Q2'07 this year. Pricing of the XG Station is unknown at the moment.

The XG Station adaptor only interfaces with ExpressCard interfaces at the moment, but will work with with PCIe ExpressCard interfaces installed in a desktop PC.

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By Vokus on 1/7/2007 3:48:25 AM , Rating: 2
WOW! If this is really effective and works, then this would be an a very good solution for laptop gamer's. I have a brand new laptop, and it has a nice processor and ram but lacks graphic power, this would really help me out!

By kokal on 1/7/2007 5:06:42 AM , Rating: 2
I agree it's a step forward but have you people seen that it does require external monitor as shown in the picture - the laptop display is turned off and the image is on the Asus TFT. Also we have no idea of the price tag and when you add the extra monitor cost and realise that laptops get quite hot when gaming above 2-3 hours on external power you may find that a slower laptop + Gaming PC would be more efficient - Laptops still cost quite more than Desktop PCs with same specs. A slower laptop would still be sufficient enough for media/documents as I find that use most appropriate. I think that the price will not be around 30-40$ more like 100+ and it will be oriented at laptop enthusiasts. Still its a great idea so - hats off

By dubldwn on 1/7/2007 5:12:51 AM , Rating: 2
I guess it's not that big of a deal to have to bring along a monitor with your notebook. Well, other than the fact that that would be completely retarded.

By The Sword 88 on 1/7/2007 9:30:48 AM , Rating: 5
That is not the idea.

The idea ia I go to class with my laptop and it is nice a nd light with good RAM and a ggood processor then I get home and plug it into my external thing, my big hi res monitor, my mouse my full sized keboard,my speakers, and my graphics thingy and it is now a gaming rig.

Then I unplug that stuff the next morning for school or work or whatever

By poohbear on 1/7/07, Rating: 0
By iNGEN on 1/7/2007 1:07:49 PM , Rating: 4
No. It doesn't.

By EglsFly on 1/7/2007 1:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
Either way, anytime someone comes up with an option to give you a choice or flexibility, thats always a good thing.

By S3anister on 1/8/07, Rating: -1
By MightyAA on 1/8/2007 11:08:00 AM , Rating: 2
No, exactly the opposite. You'd get this with a portable laptop. I have a desktop replacement with a 7950GTX thank you very much (5800+ 3DMark06). The problem with laptop users is that to get the good cards like I have, you are forced to a 17" screen: you lose portability and battery time.
But you can get good cpu's and ram with a 14"-15" laptop. Unfortunately, you'll probably only get onboard or a 7600GT gpu.. This solves that by allowing you to get a fast portable laptop for lugging around, and when you get home, plug it in and play the latest games on a real monitor with a real gpu.

My concern would be whether that express card bottlenecks the data, and whether the laptop would accept that box taking over as the primary gpu (I can't even get mine to default to an external monitor, nor can I get drivers from NVidia directly)..

By FITCamaro on 1/7/2007 10:06:46 AM , Rating: 2
He's absolutely right. Many laptops today would be perfectly suited for games given the right graphics chip. They often throw a bunch of RAM and a great processor into one but skimp on the graphics. With this you can have your portable, light laptop thats great on battery life during the day and then when you get home, you plug it in (as many people do) to an external monitor along with keyboard and mouse + this new external GPU and enjoy gaming. At my office those with laptops don't have desktop PCs often times. They plug their laptop into a docking station thats connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Personally I think its an awesome idea. I do wish though that there was some way to make it work with the laptops LCD screen. Because if it could, it'd be a great way to be able to upgrade your laptops graphics. My laptop still has a pretty decent processor for gaming and a good amount of RAM, but its 128MB 9600 Pro is a bit dated.

By borowki on 1/7/2007 11:34:51 AM , Rating: 3
That doesn't make sense at all. Just think about it. You are basically investing high-end technology into the laptop only to leave it crippled half the time. The high-capacity hard-drive that you pay dearly for will be filled largely with programs (i.e. games) that you can't use while on the road. The fast CPU will be idling most of the time. The high-end audio solution will be outputting to earplugs or tinny speakers.

Kokal is right: You get more bang for the buck by having a mid-range laptop and a high-end desktop. The price premium of a high-end laptop almost certainly would exceed the cost of a separate CPU, RAM, sound card, Windows license, and disc drive.

By iNGEN on 1/7/2007 1:08:57 PM , Rating: 2
You miss the point.

By One43637 on 1/7/2007 4:33:50 PM , Rating: 2

by FITCamaro on January 7, 2007 at 10:06 AM

He's absolutely right. Many laptops today would be perfectly suited for games given the right graphics chip. They often throw a bunch of RAM and a great processor into one but skimp on the graphics. With this you can have your portable, light laptop thats great on battery life during the day and then when you get home, you plug it in (as many people do) to an external monitor along with keyboard and mouse + this new external GPU and enjoy gaming. At my office those with laptops don't have desktop PCs often times. They plug their laptop into a docking station thats connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Personally I think its an awesome idea. I do wish though that there was some way to make it work with the laptops LCD screen. Because if it could, it'd be a great way to be able to upgrade your laptops graphics. My laptop still has a pretty decent processor for gaming and a good amount of RAM, but its 128MB 9600 Pro is a bit dated.

my sentiments exactly. i was looking to build a new desktop because of the performance increase over my current DC Opteron system, but now that this is announced, buying a notebook with a decent CPU and RAM looks even more attractive. :)

i wonder though, if you can use an LCD TV with a DVI hookup as your monitor and attach a USB wireless keyboard and mouse so you can sit on the couch?

By FITCamaro on 1/7/2007 4:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see why not.

By borowki on 1/8/2007 10:26:31 AM , Rating: 2
How about the fact that laptops have slower processor, smaller, slower hard-drive, less room for memory expansion, and crappy built-in sound?

By dice1111 on 1/8/2007 12:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
Where do you get that from? Haven't you been Laptop shopping in a while? A lot of lappy's out now would kill a midrange PC in all those aspects.

By borowki on 1/8/2007 1:14:10 PM , Rating: 3
And they set you off a couple grands. There is no question that mobile components are more expensive. A 100+ hard-drive is high-end in laptops, whereas it's under of the line where it comes to desktops.

By dice1111 on 1/8/2007 4:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
The whole premiss and importace of this article; Power for portability.

I love the power and afforability of a Desktop, but some people can't put a price on portability, like myself. I could never concider a Desktop, and this gives me a graphics upgrade without having to get a new Lappy. Almost makes me feel like my original decision on investing in a laptop (more cpu and ram, less gpu)is more valuable because I have this new option.

By borowki on 1/8/2007 6:07:16 PM , Rating: 3
If you want portability, then get a gaming laptop that's properly engineered to be used on the road. Or get a machine with MXM support and an MXM card. The XG Station doesn't offer much mobility. First of all, you need to carry around an external display--either a projector or an LCD screen. Second, you a keyboard and a mouse, since you probably want to keep the lid closed so it doesn't obscure the external display. Third, you need the station. Fourth, you need the power block that powers it. You don't see it in the photo, but it's likely to be sizable as video cards draw considerable power.

By vdig on 1/8/2007 1:03:21 PM , Rating: 2
Core 2 Duo does exist in the laptop markets, so CPU is not a problem. Memory can reach desktop sizes of 2-4 GB as well. I have 2 GB myself. Sound card? There is Creative's portable line. Only big problems are the power and the video card. Don't expect gaming laptops to be powered for long on a battery. That is what the AC adapter is for.

Finally, this new device helps alleviate the dilemma of not having room in the laptop for a gaming grade video card solution. Heck, if you wanted a GeForce 8800 board for a laptop, this is the only way to go (for now). Portability will hurt a bit, but it is by far lighter than lugging a full blown desktop rig. Nice for playing at a hotel or at out of town locations.

By borowki on 1/8/2007 1:46:09 PM , Rating: 2
Judging by the picture, I doubt you can use a dual slot card in the thing. Heat issues clearly will be worse in a small enclosure.

The claim of performance at "factor of nine over integrated solutions" give you an idea of what to expect. Nine times three, four frames a second is not a lot.

By vdig on 1/8/2007 3:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
3x9 is 27 fps.
4x9 is 36 fps.
I would assume this is with the video card that comes with the kit. At any rate, the difference between 3, 4 fps to 27-36 fps is the difference between Oblivion screenshot slide shows and actually playing the game. I think people can survive with 25-30 frames. Further, we do not know the true power of the dark si... er, the XG Station. Could be better with different cards. I just hope it is capable of even better, or that there is an even better version coming for beefier cards. My brother, who can really benefit from this, is a real graphics nut.

For now, I will say this:

Stay tuned to this channel (DailyTech) for further developments ;)

By retrospooty on 1/7/2007 10:19:04 AM , Rating: 3
"The idea ia I go to class with my laptop and it is nice a nd light with good RAM and a ggood processor then I get home and plug it into my external thing, my big hi res monitor, my mouse my full sized keboard,my speakers, and my graphics thingy and it is now a gaming rig. "

Exactly... This eliminates the need for you to purchase a whole separate computer at home for gaming.

By bigboxes on 1/7/2007 12:24:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's you not getting the point. Many college kids have a laptop for obvious reasons. You don't want to lug around a tower, find a place to plug it in, find the space to house it... well, you see how ridiculous it is. They get the laptop for classroom and small dorm rooms. Working on a laptop long term sucks so they get a docking station, full-sized monitor, keyboard and speakers for the room. Now, when they want to game they have the same option for their video card. There's an expansion slot that will allow them to do so. Yes, it doesn't make much sense for us older folks that are out of school and build our own PCs, but it's not geared toward you. Good idea.

By MrPickins on 1/7/2007 12:52:00 PM , Rating: 2

This should be popular for the same reasons that docking stations are.

By Exodus220 on 1/7/2007 12:52:59 PM , Rating: 2
I just graduated from college and I did not know any kids at school that had a docking station for their laptops. Either they had a laptop or desktop or both, but I never met a kid with a docking station. Perhaps I was at the wrong school to find these type of kids, but it seemed to me that if they wanted to game on their laptop then they invested in a laptop that would serve that purpose, and then used a separate mouse instead of the touch pad. But again, perhaps I was not at a school where it was popular to have a docking station.

By dubldwn on 1/7/2007 1:16:22 PM , Rating: 3
You don't want to lug around a tower, find a place to plug it in, find the space to house it... well, you see how ridiculous it is.

Uh, yea, that would be ridiculous.
but it's not geared toward you.

OK, so lets see here. The target audience is people who own a notebook with a good cpu and plenty of ram, and have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, a gaming quailty gpu, AND this unit, and are ok with plugging all that in, but are unable or unwilling to buy a tower. And do you think this enthusiast gaget is going to be inexpensive?
Good idea.

It would be a much better idea, no, a viable idea, if you could take it with you.

By bigboxes on 1/7/2007 2:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
If you're into the LAN party scene then you are correct, it would be a pain to lug this all around and then set it up. You might as well get one of those cases with the handle and radiation stickers. But if you're and average college student who likes to game then this is a great idea. Part of the start up cost is the monitor, speakers, full-size mouse & keyboard, and docking station. When you go off to class (or library) you just un-dock the laptop and take it with you. When you get back to your room you just dock the laptop without having to re-hook up all the periphials. Makes sense to me. A laptop takes up a lot less space then a tower. I don't have a laptop, but if I was in college today I would get one. Like I said, it may not make sense to you (and it doesn't for me either), but it does for today's college student. And for a lot of them they spend time gaming and this device will integrate nicely with their laptop to allow them to do so. It hooks up to the bus without the need for a tower to house the device. I would call that a good idea for those that it's geared towards.

By dubldwn on 1/7/2007 5:12:24 PM , Rating: 3
Well, we really need to get the final word on whether this really requires an external monitor. My claim is not that there is no audience for this. There is. My claim is that, if you really do need an external monitor and other peripherals, the utility goes down dramatically, and the target audience goes down exponentially. This is not what we have been waiting for. LAN party? I need an upgradeable notebook gpu solution for the airport gate, travel destinations, the coffee shop, the building lounge, ect. and I'm not alone. If I'm expected to use this product in my home, that, coincidentally, is the same place I keep my desktop. If I could use my otherwise perfectly acceptable notebook for gaming outside my home, that would be outstanding. By the way, regarding college students, we were broke when we were in college, and Microsoft and Sony had excellent solutions for gaming. We sure weren't buying gpu's and external multi-display gadgets. We were attending meetings to get the free pizza.

By bfonnes on 1/9/2007 4:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
no, you're completely retarded...

"An integrated LCD display and control also grace the XG Station."

integrated, as in comes with the box, as in NOT separate, and thus NO EXTRA display required. Sheesh, can't you people read or at least re-read before posting?

By ricera10 on 1/7/2007 3:54:55 PM , Rating: 2
It seems like it doesn't need an external monitor...
(Near the bottom)

By daskip on 1/8/2007 1:01:41 AM , Rating: 2
Can use your notebook's display.

"The XG Station also has a dedicated control panel to let users control the settings through the GUI based interface and easily switch modes between the notebook screen and the external LCD monitor."

By borowki on 1/8/2007 2:38:13 AM , Rating: 3
No, that clearly implies that you need an external monitor. You can switch to the notebook screen, but that screen is still connected to the notebook GPU. There is no standard mechanism I know of that allows you to transfer the framebuffer of one video card to another.

By UNCjigga on 1/8/2007 11:34:34 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you kokal...Shuttle XPC FTW!!

By ADDAvenger on 1/7/2007 2:49:27 PM , Rating: 2
It does seem to be a great idea, but isn't Expresscard limited to 1x PCIe? I've read that 8x doesn't slow you down much compared to 16x, but performance takes a dive at 4x. How well will this work with just an 1x connection?

By The Sword 88 on 1/7/2007 5:53:37 PM , Rating: 2
I am pretty sure ExpressCard is x8 or x16 but I might be wrong.

By Brainonska511 on 1/7/2007 6:13:40 PM , Rating: 2
Nope. ExpressCard is a combination of PCI-Ex1 and USB 2.0 (High Speed).

By flexy on 1/8/2007 3:28:52 AM , Rating: 3
at the first glance it's cool, but...

this thing might cost a lot...and i highly DOUBT eg. putting a high-end card in there aka X1950, X8800 etc...people say that cardexpress is pcie 1x / there will be a bottleneck which makes putting a high-end0card in there sound VERY retarded.

I do see the point in people arguing it's cool...take your laptop to school or the cafe...then come home, plug that stuff in..and game.

BUT....a) this thing does NOT provide portability and more gaming-power, since you do NOT carry around thi thing, brick and a MONITOR :)

b) if it only makes sense to have all those exterenal add-ons AT HOME...then i rather prefer my desktop. There is also so much more which makes laptops USUALLY bad machines for gaming

The much intelligenter solution (my $0.2) is having a kicka$$ desktop, no stupid interface-bootlenecks..and one of the zillion CHEAP notebooks without fancy/schmanzy which you can take to your starbucks or to school. And no halfa$$ solution like a 8800gtx in a otherwise totally insufficient laptop and then additional cabling and stuff.

Nevertheless there might be a market...dont knows.

By moonraker3000 on 1/8/2007 2:41:26 PM , Rating: 2
"kicka$$ desktop"

that's the problem. it sucks a lot of $$ that a lot of people don't want to pay, and what about the occasional gamer with only a laptop?

By Snipester on 1/7/2007 1:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
The Expresscard interface IS a direct link to either PCIE bus or USB. The trick is, they built in support for both. For card readers that use the expresscard slot, or TV tuners, they are most likely USB based since it is easy to develop for and has been out for a long time. For PCIE part, I'm 90% sure only a x1 link is used. So basically even if you have an external card, the system is limited in speed for the expresscard interface.

The only real good reason you want to use this is if you do have a powerful laptop but a crappy gfx and want to play some newer games at decent framerates.

As for portability, that is something you should have considered when buying the laptop in the first place.

RE: Hmm
By ninjit on 1/7/2007 2:44:28 PM , Rating: 2
He's right, I had forgotten that Express card was PCIe 1x only until he mentioned it.

I wonder how that will effect performance?
There hasn't been a whole lot of situations where x16 is better than x8, but x1?

x1 is still pretty fast at 250MB/s (~2 Gbps).

RE: Hmm
By ADDAvenger on 1/7/2007 5:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
250MBps is fast? PC66 runs at 533MBps. That's probably fine for sound cards and RAID cards, but that's pretty weak for a graphics connection.

That said, I'm sure there is a market for this. At the very least I know a lot of financial guys can make use of three or four computer screens, this could let them skip buying a desktop that really wouldn't be needed for anything but 3+ monitor support.

RE: Hmm
By ninjit on 1/7/2007 5:45:05 PM , Rating: 2
PC66 is a memory interface (as CLEARLY stated in the wikipedia link you included), not a bus connection.

The original PCI spec was rated for only 266 MB/s (this what they mean when they refer to PCIe 1x).
The important thing to remember though, is that PCI is a shared bus, none of the attached cards will ever get the full throughput.

But PCIe is point-to-point.

The specification requires that all cards be able to function on their specified # of lanes and less. So a PCIex16 card could still function on x8 and even x1, but requires a physical x16 connector - all the other lanes but 1 will be dead.
This is exactly how this ASUS adapter works, it provides an x16 physical connector for 1x bus-width (the ExpressCard slot).

things is no one has ever tested a PCIe video card on anything less than an x8 slot, because motherboard manufacturers don't bother putting the x16 physical connetor on the smaller ones.

It would be nice to see a desktop motherboard with all x16 connectors, but with clear labels as to what the actual # of lanes in there are.

RE: Hmm
By Snipester on 1/7/2007 7:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
You wont get the clear labels on motherboards. You'll have to read about it in the chipset spec to see which slot has how many x PCIE speeds available. I think they assume most people who build computers should know.

There is one thing that i did forget about is PCIE 2nd Generation. Speed should theoretically double for 2.0.[ie. x16 1.0PCIE = x8 2.0PCIE] An expresscard with this interface could be tolerable.
It explains how 2.0 will be 5GT/s whereas 1.0 is 2.5GT/s.

The Point to point thing is a valid observation but loading the computer with alot of PCIE devices is still troublesome for the controller. Fortunately most devices only need x1 [Gigabit ethernet, tv tuners, maybe soundcards]

If you guys want to test x1 mode all you have to do is tape down the upper 15 lanes of your PCIE card. There are 4 notches per lane. Also do not attempt if you don't know what you are doing. I'm sure reviewers have done this before for x16 and x8 mode.

RE: Hmm
By MattCoz on 1/8/2007 1:07:11 PM , Rating: 2
I believe he was referring to PCI at 66 MHz, just linked the wrong wikipedia article. The original PCI spec was actually 133 MB/s though, and PCI-66 is 266 MB/s.

ah if this works out..
By crazydrummer4562 on 1/7/2007 3:53:55 AM , Rating: 2
things will be good. No more extreme PSU/cooling woes, no more having to purchase nice cards separately for my desktop and laptop.

RE: ah if this works out..
By qwerty1 on 1/7/2007 4:15:05 AM , Rating: 2
Though there will be less heat in the computer, don't expect the external unit to be cool and quiet just yet. There is most likely a fan attached to the external unit somewhere and the stock fan is going to be loud... Fresh air circulation will also be something needing to be tackled as there is no more case fans to supply them. I've been looking forward to modular systems for a long time, and this seems like a good 1st step.

RE: ah if this works out..
By kdog03 on 1/7/2007 5:05:05 AM , Rating: 2
Yea no kidding, I would love to be able to use this for my AGP setup-then i wouldnt need to upgrade evything jsut to get PCI vid cards...

RE: ah if this works out..
By phusg on 1/7/2007 6:23:56 AM , Rating: 2
Or buy an X1950 Pro AGP card. It's the fastest AGP card ever and has just become available.

RE: ah if this works out..
By Targon on 1/7/2007 10:01:50 AM , Rating: 2
The problem many of us have is that if we spend money on an AGP video card, that is money wasted if our long-term goal is to gradually upgrade our entire system. I'd love to start with a $400 PCI Express video card(which would make me happy in the short term), and then in another few months upgrade the motherboard, CPU, and Memory which together might cost only $500 or so.

PCIE - e ( External )
By iwod on 1/7/2007 4:10:00 AM , Rating: 2
Wasn't there a spec for PCI Express External? Which bascially allow the same thing? ( External PCI E Express ). Like External SATA plug.

I wish Dailytech / anandtech could find out more on the subject. As google does not help.

Also wondering if this is OS specific?
Could i plug a External Geforce 8800 GTS with a iMac?

RE: PCIE - e ( External )
By cochy on 1/7/2007 4:39:28 AM , Rating: 2
Could i plug a External Geforce 8800 GTS with a iMac?

Since Nvidia does not have Mac OS drivers, no you can not plug it in and have it work. If 3rd party Mac OS drivers exist then I don't see why not.

RE: PCIE - e ( External )
By kelmon on 1/7/2007 5:04:08 AM , Rating: 2
Could i plug a External Geforce 8800 GTS with a iMac?

While the other respondent correctly notes that drivers would be an issue until Apple officially sanctions the product such that the OS not only recognises the device to receive display information but also how to speak to the specific graphics card installed, I think the main iMac problem is the lack of an ExpressCard slot. As far as I am aware the iMac doesn't have any ports that allows access to the PCI Express bus. I have one of the new MacBook Pro laptops that do have an ExpressCard slot so at least there is hope for me, although I have to confess to being quite happy with the graphics performance of the system anyway.

It's an interesting idea but unless there comes a game that I MUST play (and that's not happened in a long time) and my laptop can't handle it normally then I can't see myself playing around with such a setup.

RE: PCIE - e ( External )
By mlittl3 on 1/7/2007 2:23:22 PM , Rating: 1
Of course it will work on a Mac because you can now install windows on a Mac.

I now have exactly what I'm going to buy in May. A Santa Rosa Centrino Pro based MacBook Pro w/

2.4 GHz 800 MHz FSB Core 2 Duo
2 GB DDR2 667MHz
Chipset with integrated flash memory (Robson Technology)
1x Express Card slot for this ASUS adapter
Dual boot (Boot Camp) WinXP/Mac OS X officially supported in Mac OS 10.5

This is the nicest laptop setup for all purposes I can imagine.

BTW, for all you people complaining about the point of this thing, you can still own a laptop and a high-end gaming rig at home. Just take the video card out of your PC and install it into the ASUS adapter when you want to go LANing at your Buddy's house. No more need to bring your PC.

At last
By Serp86 on 1/7/2007 5:14:15 AM , Rating: 2
Thank god - I have been waiting for something like this for a long time.

However, do you think that this is the first external graohics card? I remember an old anandtech article on a 16Mb PCMCIA video card from a minor manufacturer, but I might be wrong.

Too bad my current laptop is too old and only has PCMCIA. Express card will be a must when buying a notebook next year :D

RE: At last
By Serp86 on 1/7/2007 5:17:13 AM , Rating: 2
RE: At last
By Equinox on 1/9/2007 9:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
Still useless if it won't use the laptop screen. End of story.

What is needed is, like I said, a highly mobile form factor LCD/Keyboard setup that you can connect to a real PC.

This is hokey. We've had this for years - it's called docking stations. Who do you know of that carts around a docking station?

If you could game with it ON THE LAPTOP SCREEN, not some useless heavy LCD, then they would sell them by the thousands. I'd be standing in line for one. This is useless.

Another article
By ricera10 on 1/7/2007 3:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
Here is a link for clarification:

Interestingly, this article says this will also be able to do sorround sound...and it also mentions it will have a USB 2.0 connector. Which brings up a question, can it be connected via USB 2.0 for those with no expresscard slots? Granted the graphics performance would be overly bottlenecked, but it could allow dual-DVI monitors, though. Realisitically, I think that's just for the sound output.

RE: Another article
By Brainonska511 on 1/7/2007 4:04:37 PM , Rating: 2
You won't be able to connect the graphics through a USB port. The graphics portion will run through the PCI-Ex1 connection of the ExpressCard slot.

RE: Another article
By ninjit on 1/7/2007 5:49:31 PM , Rating: 2
No, the ExpressCard slot has both PCIe 1x pins, and for USB2.0.
Most cards you get will use one or the other:
e.g. A 9-in-1 memory card reader will likely use USB
e.g. And external SATA raid controller will likely use PCIe.

In this case they are just using both and pipeing the USB2.0 connection to an external port for you to use.

dosent this seem silly?
By AppaYipYip on 1/7/2007 8:11:03 AM , Rating: 1
The whole point of a notebook is portability. Now, you are carrying around your laptop, a bulky external graphics unit which no doubt requires it's own power source and brick, the power source and brick for your laptop, and any other items you use. Why not just carry around a shuttle PC while you're at it.

RE: dosent this seem silly?
By FredEx on 1/7/2007 8:31:44 AM , Rating: 2
No. I'd still have the portability when I need to take my laptop with me, but when I need to do heavy graphic intensive work or serious game playing, which I do at home, then I can hook up to a killer graphics card.

RE: dosent this seem silly?
By iNGEN on 1/7/2007 1:11:58 PM , Rating: 2
Still another person missing the point. Only an idiot would carry this item around with them.

How does it work?
By Saito on 1/7/2007 10:51:27 AM , Rating: 2
Normally I don't post here, but this article has got me a little wondered.
Since the pamflet says "upgradable", I would have to assume you can plug-in whichever card you please. But are they talking about a normal desktop type graphics card? Or a mobile chip? I can't really imagine them talking about a normale desktop graphics card, but then again I have never even seen a store that sells notebook graphics cards, and there are hardly any laptops with switchable graphics cards as it is, so choice would be limited.
Can somebody please clarify?
Much obliged.

RE: How does it work?
By iNGEN on 1/7/2007 1:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
The article says the PCIe version uses any graphics card that fits a standard PCIe x16 slot and ships with a 7900GS card.

By yacoub on 1/7/2007 4:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
If this works out it could be the end of laptop retails pushing their GPU upgrade prices through the roof like they traditionally have and currently do.

RE: good
By Brainonska511 on 1/7/2007 5:52:40 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt that, because built in GPUs will still perform much better than the external counterparts since the internal ones will have access to a full 16 PCI-E lanes. The express card connection only allows for the connection of 1 PCI-Express lane.

Driver conflicts?
By Azsen on 1/7/2007 8:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
One thing I'm wondering about is the driver conflicts this could introduce. Lets say I have a Radeon X1600 128mb internal graphics chip inside my laptop, and I connect up the external Nvidia 7900GS. I assume I will need two sets of drivers to make the laptop work with and without the external graphics attached. Otherwise if you unplugged the external graphics, you wouldn't be able to see anything on the screen because there would be no drivers to control the internal graphics chip.

Now everyone knows that if you have leftover drivers in the system from another video card it can drastically reduce performance and cause all sorts of problems. So having two sets of video drivers from different manufacturers installed on the system could cause havoc. So how will they combat that problem?

Also is this external graphics card hot swappable? Like when I'm running windows and want a performance boost, can I just plug it in, then unplug it when I'm done? Or am I going to have to shut down the computer, plug it in, then start it up again? That would be an extra annoyance having to do that.

RE: Driver conflicts?
By customcoms on 1/7/2007 9:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
Thats actually a pretty serious question because EVERY laptop has a set of display drivers installed as is. I'm sure somebody at Asus HOPEFULLY figured something out with a software driver that tells windows to turn off the integrated graphics and associated driver and use the expresscard GPU and driver. Otherwise, for those with notebooks with built in GPU's, you'll have to populate the external interface with a GPU made by the same company (i.e, ATI in the notebook, a more powerful ATI outside the notebook).

Big Cards
By InTheNameOfMyself on 1/7/2007 11:09:11 PM , Rating: 2
Looking at the picture, there seems to be two slots.
I hope that means I can install a two-slot card.
And that it doesn`t overheat!

Wait a minute, SLI or CrossFire anyone?

RE: Big Cards
By Hyperlite on 1/8/2007 12:11:54 AM , Rating: 2
well since a 7600gt probably won't perform at its max on a PCIe 1x slot, CF or SLI is assuredly out of the question...

external power?
By jmunjr on 1/8/2007 2:36:04 AM , Rating: 2
Ok now I read it needs external power. Ok I guess I can see the attraction for some of you, but holy cow this thing will cost a lot - much more than the video card itself. I mean if you think you might buy this just get a better laptop. Or better still get your cheap laptop and decent desktop machine. You're gonna need an extra monitor anyway. Heck a cheap emachines with PCI-E and a solid graphics card will be better than 99% of the laptops today for games and *can* cost under $500 if you get some smokin deals - yes $500 for a desktop with better 3d performance than most laptops.

RE: external power?
By 0uterlimitz on 1/8/2007 1:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree.

What cheap emachines do you speak of? Are you saying that by plugging an 8800Gtx into an Emachines with a celeron and 256megs of ram will be superior to X laptop?

99% of the laptops out there?

you've got to be kidding right?

most laptops nowadays come with at least a gig, and at least a core duo or A 64.

I seriously doubt that an emachines with it's ghetto mobo can deal any punishment to 99% of the laptops out there.

Whatever happened to...
By Omega215D on 1/8/2007 3:14:33 AM , Rating: 2
MXM or Mobile PCI Express Module which is supposed to allow GPU upgrades? This sounds much more portable than say external cards.

Then again MXM would mean longer wait time for GPU releases to slim them down and make more efficient cards.

RE: Whatever happened to...
By Hyperlite on 1/8/2007 8:26:21 AM , Rating: 2
i'm afraid the money hungry prefab businesses have too much pull to allow that to ever happen, most unfortunantly. I still think this is a promising idea. The only thing i can't upgrade on my laptop (TM8200) will be the gpu, and this will allow me to breathe new life back into it in six months or so, should i decide not to build another desktop.

It doesn't need an external monitor...
By LordTerrin on 1/8/2007 1:20:43 PM , Rating: 2
Read the article you idiots... it doesn't need an external monitor. It works with BOTH the laptop screen OR an external.

By Vertigo101 on 1/10/2007 10:01:42 AM , Rating: 2
Read the article?!? No Way!

I'd much rather argue about what I thought it did, rather than what it really says it does!

By 0uterlimitz on 1/8/2007 1:47:37 PM , Rating: 2
Well thats just cool, isnt it. Finally something that my expresscard slot can wait for.

I am so about this add in graphics set up. I mean seriously 7600Go in my lappie is fine but come on I would spend the money to add in something a little more robust, and have no qualms with the fact that it requires an external monitor.


game on.

RE: nice.
By cr0c on 1/8/2007 8:37:51 PM , Rating: 2
Regardless of whether it needs external monitor, the idea is long overdue. I use both desktop and laptop computers and would just use one if it had adequate graphic card and sound to go with fast cpu and lots of RAM. I use docking station for laptops and external monitor. I have long wondered why Creative or another didn't come out with external sound card AND graphic card for us mobile users [as well as better drivers and less bloatware] as a gamer's docking station. I don't know that this is the right graphics solution or whether a different bus needs to be provided for external access -- someone once was calling for external SATA2 or such to meet similar demands for faster hard drive capabilities for laptop docking. It would allow very portable laptops with fast cpu and lots of RAM but externalize some of the heat generating tech we need for gaming. This seems at least a step in the right direction. My wistful $.02

I'm in
By dubldwn on 1/7/2007 5:00:23 AM , Rating: 2
The graphics situation has always been the Achilles Heel of notebooks with me. I'm certainly not buying some bright orange "gaming" notebook for an outrageous amount of money, just for the gpu. The fact that you can easily swich it over to the desktop seals the deal. As long as the cost isn't way out there and the performance is seamless, I'm in.

By drwho9437 on 1/7/2007 6:05:27 AM , Rating: 2
That is you get something with power efficient graphics for travel, a docking station and this and boom, no more desktop needed, assuming the bandwidth and latency and all that is comparable to 16x on the MoBo. It could be quite useful for people who need to do CAD and so on but also need to travel.

I continue to think docks, laptops and network storage is going to really take over.

By Mithan on 1/7/2007 7:43:32 AM , Rating: 2
I am curious about seeing the benchmarks. Probably wont be as fast as a regular 7900GS but should be close...

Would Be Nice
By FredEx on 1/7/2007 8:26:11 AM , Rating: 2
This will be great for my laptop, it has heat issues when I fire up any heavy gaming on it. To the point I gave up on that.

Somebody mentioned heat and noise...I think heat issues would be a far less problem having the device out in the ambient air of a room rather than in the heated confines of a case, so over-clocking a card might work better too. Then, without having to worry about space in a case using a fan-less cooling system on a card should work out really well.

IF it works
By FXi on 1/7/2007 8:43:04 AM , Rating: 2
If it's not bottlnecked badly by the expresscard interface, I'll take one. And the need for an external monitor is nothing to someone who is already gpu hungry enough to need this device in the first place. There is a pretty good market for this device because there are presenters who will use it as well as gamers. Moreover if you always wanted to hook up that notebook at home and plug in dual monitors, that now becomes an option as well.

Have to see how it works of course, but looks promising indeed.

Buy a real PC and forget the gimmicks
By cornfedone on 1/7/07, Rating: 0
By ilkhan on 1/7/2007 1:46:13 PM , Rating: 2
OK. I have an e1405. Great laptop. I love it. But for gaming, it sucks.
This item would let me run a desktop GPU, the only real problem with it. I already have an old screen to use it with, along with externel keyboard and mouse.
I can bring the laptop with me to class, and then bring this and the externel setup to LANs. (believe me, Ive been to a couple with the e1405. Gaming is possible at low settings, but even source is a slideshow at minimum settings).

The point isn't that this turns you laptop into a gaming desktop. But it would do a very good job of preventing me from spending $1700 on a new desktop just for gaming like Im doing next week.

By HARDKORNATE on 1/7/2007 1:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
I would definitly buy this.
I do music AND games - don't need the graphics when my laptop is on the move for music and don't need portability for games.

By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/7/2007 1:53:59 PM , Rating: 2
someone who bought their computer with mobility and battery life in mind can sit down somewhere and do graphics-intensive things like gaming, visual design, or CAD.

About time...
By Fox5 on 1/7/2007 10:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
Still though, I'd have to imagine this will be worthless for anything beyond a low end card. If you can get anywhere near current performance on this, then PCI cards didn't need to die so long ago. Heck, we could have had PCMIA graphics cards.

Also, Wikipedia seems to indicate that ExpressCard has the same bandwidth as Pci Express 2x and not 1x.

And what laptop is that in the original picture. Looks like a Mac.

Additionally, this thing brings up a point...why don't laptop makers just make gaming associated docking stations? Make them at a reasonable price point and you'd probably sell a bunch, and include a pci-e slot on them or two, it wouldn't even have to be full pci-e bandwidth to be worthwhile. IMO, adding keyboards, mice, and monitors onto a laptop doesn't defeat the portability aspect, but having tons of numerous connections to undo everytime you want to move it would. It would be much easier just to have a single docking station that your laptop can slide out of when you need to move it.

And one last thing...where can I get that trident xp4 graphics card that was mentioned? Was it ever produced? Cause it looks like it'd be faster than an Intel GMA 900, not to mention that the DVI support is nice.

By jmunjr on 1/8/2007 2:29:48 AM , Rating: 2
Ok so this big bulky add-on is cool and all and you need an external monitor for it.. I guess i fyou are that short on space go ahead and get one plus a new monitor. But, since it can't work on you laptop's monitor, one option laptop makers could have is to have inputs for the laptop monitor itself.

Seems kind of silly, but why not? Then you coul dhave the utput of this gizmo going in the input of you laptop's monitor.

If they could only make the darn thing smaller...

Here's a better idea: removable graphics cards for laptops. Just assume they will all be really hot and put plenty of cooling in there..

Real time overclocking
By MattCoz on 1/8/2007 1:12:40 PM , Rating: 2
The coolest feature of this is the real time overclocking with the control knob, although it may make it too easy to crank it up too high.

We need this for desktops
By Domicinator on 1/9/2007 6:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
I will probably never game on a laptop, but I would love to have this kind of product for my tower. Just think of the benefits of being able to plug an external video card into an external power source. All you would need is some kind of PCI-e connection on the back of the tower. I'm sure USB 2.0 wouldn't handle that kind of data very well.

By Equinox on 1/9/2007 9:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'd buy this in a heartbeat if it worked through the laptop onto the screen. Anyone that sees this as useful, isn't the type of user to buy this anyway. This is needed, it's just needed minus the need for an external LCD. Why get this when you can just build a SFF+LCD, and use the laptop elsewhere? It's useless.

The main reason why I think they haven't implemented this to display on the notebooks screen is because there isn't a way to bypass the inverter card. Until that can be done, this is basically a non entity. Just by a desktop and be done with it.

It really makes me sad that this *doesn't* use the laptop's LCD.

Why hasn't someone made a 20 inch screen you can hold in your lap (like a foldup LCD shell w/keyboard like those rackmount 1Us, only lighter, obviously), and leave the tower, SFF or whatever elsewhere? Then you could flop out on the couch with the screen in your lap, chill with the headphones, and game or watch movies.

Now THAT would be innovation. This is useless.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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